Trashcan Sinatras: I Saw It All Album Review

Is there an indie rock band more endearing than the Trashcan Sinatras? There are of course bands that are loved by more people, and bands that have been loved longer. But the community that has formed around this bookish, hermetic Glasgow band seems to transcend the standard relationship between fans and their favorite rock band, especially one whose mainstream contact was so scarce. The still perfect first single from The Trashcans in 1990 was called “Darkness strikes“, an appropriate title for a group whose legacy would be carried, not to say financed, directly by their own public, long before the advent of Patreon and Bandcamp.

At first, most critics discussed The Trashcans in the context of the “New Smiths,” and while their jangle pop melodies and sometimes melancholy lyrics share a resemblance, the comparison rather suggested that this group might serve a similar purpose. in your life: quote their words like dialogue from a favorite movie; sing when you are at the lowest; devote yourself to browsing record stores for each single and B-side import; listen to their work and feel that it is purely yours, without any interference from the outside world.

Second album of the Trashcans, 1993 I have seen everything, is generally a fan favorite, and this new reissue, complete with six great excerpts and a hardcover book titled The perfect reminder, is an ideal gateway. This is a specific type of album: if you’re the type to say that Fleetwood Mac’s Defense more Rumors, or Neil Young’s Ditch trilogy completed After the gold rush, you’ll find the sloppy energy of these 14 songs immediately appealing. What you hear in these recordings is not the sound of lightning in a bottle, but rather the wild, unbridled energy of a band trying to catch it, which makes these moments perfect when they do – the lyricless chorus of “Earlies”, the trumpet-chorus accompanied by the title song — its even more exciting.

To follow their beginnings, the 90s Cake, 10 expertly crafted songs in less than 40 minutes – The Trashcans have established a new process that will span the rest of their careers. Working out of their in-house Shabby Road studio, they took their time, slowly amassing material among several of the group’s lead songwriters. There is the de facto frontman, Frank Reader, whose expressive voice is one of the hallmarks of the group: she can be sweet and melodic, sometimes showing the connection to her sister, the folk singer. Eddi Reader. Or it can wear the raw side of Paul Westerberg, making it seem like he might look prettier on a day when he wasn’t so broken up with things.

The other members — guitarists John Douglas, with a deeper, shaky performance, and Paul Livingston, who contributed some of the best songs on this album, as well as bassist David Hughes and drummer Stephen Douglas — are equally essential, and they speak to another element of the group’s charm: they work best as a team, lifting each other up to places they couldn’t access on their own. (Fittingly, Ray Shulman of 1970s progressive rock band Gentle Giant produced these quietly complex pop songs.) Often their dynamic highlights the spark of creation itself. Powerful highlights like “Easy Read” and “Bloodrush” are introduced with decoy hooks that feel transplanted from other equally catchy songs; the unusually grungy “Killing the Cabinet” and “One at a Time” end with chaotic and confusing codas, letting the demons out before moving on to a more polished material.

Despite experimentation, these songs are designed to lodge in your head, and each individual part – the bassline of “I’m Immortal”, the vocal harmonies of “The Hairy Years” – is designed to get the crowd singing. with them. . And once you do, you might notice that the lyrics, sung mainly by Read with a strong Scottish accent, are just as thoughtful as the melodies. They love puns – “repeat” followed by “knock the hearse” – but more than that, they like to play with expectations. The heroic, minor sounding ‘Hayfever’, an obvious single, seems to promise some damn romance, and yet Reader can’t seem to get past the intro. “Hello, my name is Harry” go the opening lines, as well as the chorus, looping the opening scene before speeding up the action: “The rest,” he concludes, “it’s chemistry. “

Is it any wonder that a group like this – so subtle, so self-aware – never took off? The years after I have seen everything are a dark but familiar story in indie rock. The tracking tanks, their label is acquired by a major. The group is released, falls off the radar. And while this is the end of the story for most bands, this is when the Trashcans really kick in and the community gets involved: since their comeback in the years 2004 Bodybuilding, they shared a symbiotic relationship with their fans, thanking supporters by name in the sleeve notes and rewarding them with a constant stream of live albums and demo collections.

In the sleeve notes of one of these demo collections, Livingston notes that “Easy Read”, the opening track from I have seen everything, was inspired by when a bouncer wouldn’t let him into the club, so he lied that he needed his keys from a friend inside. In a way, it worked. It’s a small victory that he translated into one of the band’s most triumphant songs: a radical string section, an ascending chorus, and lyrics that seem to capture the hazy romance of their own music: “Over the moon.” and under the influence, ”Reader sings as the band climaxes. When the album came out in 1993, Livingston looked to the future. “I think we’re always going to do it,” he predicted in the original press release. “Even if everyone started to hate us and our record company rejected us, we would still write songs and make records for ourselves. After all, anyone can make their way into the club for one night. Starting yours takes guts.


To buy: Gross trade

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